During August 2009, a salvage excavation was conducted along the southern fringes of Khirbat Sha‘ira, west of Road 40 (Permit No. A-5731; map ref. 66390–5/19098–101; Fig. 1), prior to the construction of an interchange. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Department of Public Works, was directed by U. ‘Ad, with the assistance of S. Ya‘aqov-Jam (administration), T. Kornfeld (surveying), H. Ben-Ari (GPS), A. Peretz (field photography), D. Masarwa (preliminary inspections), P. Gendelman (ceramics), M. Shuiskaya (drawing) and N. Katsnelson (glass).
The site is located in the southern part of the city of Petah Tiqwa, on both sides of Road 40, between the Sirkin and Nehalim Junctions; it is covered with a layer of alluvium that apparently originated from Nahal Mazor, situated to the east. Previous excavations in the south of the site had exposed a building, industrial installations and winepresses from the Byzantine period, building remains from the Ottoman period, tombs that apparently dated to the Islamic period and a well whose date is unknown
; HA-ESI 121
; HA-ESI 122
Two squares (1, 2; max. depth 2 m) were opened and remains of a building and a habitation level from the end of the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE) were exposed.
The western part of a building or room (width c. 3 m; Figs. 2, 3) was exposed in Square 1. The walls (W1–W3) were one stone wide (0.4–0.5 m) and built of large roughly hewn limestone mixed with medium-sized fieldstones. Walls 1 and 3 were preserved two courses high (0.4–0.5 m) for their entire length, whereas Wall 2 was only preserved in the north and a robber trench (L13) was discovered along its continuation southward. The floor (L18) consisted of stone slabs and was only revealed in the north side of the building/room. Numerous fragments of bag-shaped jars (Fig. 6:2), common to the region at the end of the Byzantine period, were discovered on the floor. Potsherds belonging to the same type of jar (Fig. 6:3, 4) and cooking-pot fragments (Fig. 6:1), which also date to the end of the Byzantine period, were discovered south of Floor 18 and c. 5–10 cm above it (L12). A chalk floor or a foundation of light colored substance (L16; thickness 5 cm), tamped with small stones and potsherds, including a jar fragment (Fig. 6:5), abutted the northern side of W1. The remains were covered with an accumulation of brown-dark brown clayey silt (thickness 1.5–1.7 m).
Sections of a habitation level (L15; thickness 0.05–0.20 m; Figs. 4, 5) were exposed in Square 2, c. 12.5 m south of Square 1. It consisted of wadi pebbles, small fieldstones and potsherds and was founded on the ground. The habitation level and the overlying fill (L11) contained fragments of bag-shaped jars of the same type that was discovered in Square 1. Dark brown clayey silt (thickness 1.1–1.2 m) had accumulated above Fill 11.
Several poorly preserved glass fragments that dated to the fourth–fifth centuries CE were discovered in the accumulation above Habitation Level 15 and Floor 18. They apparently originated from an earlier adjacent site. Some two dozen tiny chunks of greenish blue and green industrial glass debris were found in the fill above Floor 18 in Square 1. Remains of chalky material were affixed to one of the chunks.
The construction of the building and the ceramic finds it contained, particularly the bag-shaped jars that were usually used for storage, indicate that the structure was apparently used as a storeroom. The finds above the floor and the habitation level are dated to the end of the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE), as are the finds from the other excavations conducted at the site. It seems that an industrial zone, which included buildings and a variety of installations, had existed in this area; yet, the location of the settlement or farmstead to which the industrial zone belonged is unknown.